Popularly known as the ‘yoga of love,’ Bhakti Yoga leads you towards enlightenment and divine love. There are four main paths of yoga — Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Jnana Yoga.
Depending on the individual’s approach to life, each person will practice the form of yoga that is most appealing to how they would like to live their lives and what they believe will lead them to happiness.
Origin of Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti yoga appeals to those individuals who are more emotional in nature and focuses on love and tolerance. The yogi is motivated by the power of love and sees God as the complete embodiment of love.
Through the different practice of prayers, rituals, and worship, the yogi surrenders himself to God and channels his or her emotions towards unconditional love or devotion. Singing praises to God and chanting mantras is an important part of Bhakti yoga and is a way to practice this devotion.
Nine Limbs of Devotion
The practice of Bhakti yoga involves nine main principles that create a specific feeling within the yogi.
1. Shravana: In Shravana, the yogi ‘listens’ to ancient scriptures that are especially effective if shared by a saint.
2. Kirtana: In Kirtana, the yogi ‘sings’ praises or devotional songs, usually in a group setting.
3. Smarana: in Smarana, the yogi ‘remembers’ God or the Divine by continuously repeating his name. This limb involves meditation.
4. Padasevana: In Padasevana, the yogi practices selfless service.
5. Archana: In Archana, the yogi performs ritual worship or ‘puja,’ which is the deity worship.
6. Vandana: In Vandana, the yogi shows their prostration before the Divine through a picture or a chosen representation image.
7. Dasya: In Dasya, the yogi puts his or her ego beside to show their ultimate devotion to God.
8. Sakhya: Sakhya is the limb where the relationship of friendship is established between the yogi and the Divine.
9. Atmanivedana: Atmanivedana is the complete surrender of the yogi to God.
Love Towards God
Yogis who practice Bhakti yoga believe that the feeling of love towards God can manifest itself in many forms such as:
- Being a child of God
- Forming a true friendship with God
- Being a beloved of God
- Surrendering oneself to God
Yogi’s believe that through devotion, one can experience complete freedom from worry and fear. A devotee transcends worldly pains and sorrows and true devotion does not have any selfish desire, including the desire for liberation.
Devotion in one’s heart is kindled by the grace of the Guru, being in the company of other devotees, and by reading and listening to the stories of other devotees.
Benefits of Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti yoga comes with the following benefits:
- Removes all feelings of jealousy, hatred, anger, lust, pride, egoism, and arrogance
- Fosters feelings of happiness, joy, peace, and knowledge.
- Reduces stress and tension
- Promotes mental health and well-being
1. What is Bhakti yoga?
Bhakti yoga is the practice of ultimate devotion and focuses on fostering peace and love.
Updated by Siya Rajan on 06/12/2018
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